The three recipients of the Wess Stafford–Moody Scholarships began classes at Moody Graduate School this fall. Cesar Antonio “Tony” Beltran Morales, Michelle Sheba Tolentino and Richmond Wandera are all graduates of Compassion International’s Leadership Development Program, and each is studying to receive a Master of Arts degree in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship.
grew up in Luperón, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, and was encouraged to develop his computer skills while part of a Compassion project. He began serving with his local church, Iglesia Bíblica Cristiana, and became a youth pastor assistant by age 17. Compassion’s Leadership Development Program enabled him to complete his university degree, and he will return to the Dominican Republic to continue serving the youth of his community.
was born in Baltao Santa Mesa, one of the most crowded places in Manila, Philippines. Through Compassion, she learned of Jesus’ love for her, and later completed university studies thanks to the Leadership Development Program. Before coming to Moody, she worked with a gospel theater company in Asia as director of marketing. In the future, she hopes to bring hope to impoverished and abused women by helping them understand their worth in God’s eyes.
became involved with Compassion as a child living in the Naguru slum near Kampala, Uganda. He also attended university through Compassion’s Leadership Development Program and worked as a youth pastor at Nakawa Baptist Church. When he completes his degree at Moody, Wandera will return to Uganda better equipped to disciple young people, and with a desire to train Ugandan pastors in God’s word.
All three students share excitement about their time at Moody thus far. “Moody is unique in that it’s not just about academics; it’s also about ministry,” says Wandera. Morales agrees: “All the professors have contagious passion for their subjects,” he says. And Tolentino adds, “Being here at Moody is a dream come true for me. I’m so grateful that God brought me here for the purpose of knowing him better.”
They are just as eager to see how God will use the training they receive in their future ministries. “God orchestrated my life to bring me to Moody, and I’m sure he has a purpose for my time here,” Morales says. Wandera echoes his thoughts: “God brings you to an environment where He knows you’re going to grow. I want to go back to Uganda as a fully-formed vessel, to serve God in my own country,” he says. Tolentino adds, “Whatever God has for me and my country in the future, I will leave a legacy, not because I’m good or great, but because our God is good and loving.”